Summer Memories – Old Red Barn

Let’s travel with Adrienne to her youth, when the pastime was having time.


Old Red Barn
Adrienne S Moody

We loved eating berries. Choke cherries ~ little red berries with a tiny pit inside that were so sour your lips pursed together in response. No Name Berries ~ perhaps they were inedible to most but to us we loved how these black coloured berries instantly dried out your mouth. Yellow flowers on the bushes in spring ~ we didn’t know the name of the bush, still don’t, but mid-summer, hot and flushed from pedaling around the countryside, these tasted like sunshine. Straight off the bush. While watching my brother stand on his hands on our front lawn after dinner trying to beat his record, I’d pull long strands of grass out of the ground and chew the white ends. Sweet and earthy.

When we didn’t head out to the Old Red Barn, we’d go the other direction and follow the Mighty Sturgeon River, which was named such by my dad. Sarcastically. It was however, the only body of water we had. We skated on it in the winter and the more wealthy of us skidoo-ed on it, bundled up head to toe against the minus 30 degree weather. But our summers were steaming hot and riding our bikes gave us minimal relief. We’d pass the grain elevators and cross the railroad tracks. Big Lake was visible to the east where there was a sod farm, the workers sweating and rolling squares of grass to load onto the flatbed trucks. It was a mosquito infested water and the critters loved my blood. The summer stretched out endlessly ahead of us and we’d dump out bikes on the high grass by the bridge and plunk down under a tree to drink thermos Kool-ade and munch crackers.

That age was magical. Anything could happen. And summer was a time that the weather didn’t keep us indoors and nature was our escape. Just the smell of the earth warming connected us to something that we couldn’t name, put a finger on, but it excited us.

Our parents knew not where we were in those long lazy summer days. It was perhaps the best part of those adventures. Freedom.

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